The lawyer and the kill-list memo

Somewhat overlooked in the coverage of Awlaki is how much of a threat he was to the United States. Klaidman reports that, in addition to his links to Abdulmutallab, the so-called underwear bomber, and Al Shabaab, the Somalian terrorist group, and the killer at Fort Hood, intelligence linked Awlaki to “multiple plots to kill Americans and Europeans” that he was “deeply involved in at an operational level,” including “plans to poison Western water and food supplies with botulinum toxin, as well as attack Americans with ricin and cyanide.”

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Whether or not one believes these alleged plots allowed the President to strip Awlaki of his constitutional rights as an American citizen, it is shameful that the White House has worked for several years to conceal the secret legal opinion making that case. The final outcome of the hunt for this document and Barron’s nomination did not please everyone. Paul believes that Barron’s legal opinion showed that Barron was unqualified to serve on the federal bench. But the end result is a decent compromise, the kind lacking in Washington these days: the President gets his nominee and the rest of us finally get to see the Barron memo.

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